Landing a Backhoe on Mars

Landing a Backhoe on Mars

May 15 & 16

"Phoenix is Landing on Mars!"
Rising our out of the ashes of the lost Mars Polar Lander mission of 1998 and the Mars Surveyor 2001 Program, the Phoenix Mars lander mission will, for the first time in history, dig beneath Mars' northern polar arctic in search of signs of ancient habitats of possible organisms that may have flourished on Mars billions of years ago. Deborah Bass, the Phoenix project's Deputy Project Scientist will explain what Phoenix will do and what it hopes to discover after it lands on Mars later this month, May 25, 2008.

The Phoenix lander's entry, descent and landing system harkens back to the Mars landing system design used by the Viking landers of the 1970's. How does it work and why does it land so differently than the Mars rovers still exploring Mars? What happened to the airbags? Are we showing signs of engineering dementia or is there a method to our madness? Will humans land on Mars using these systems? Joining Deborah, JPL's Rob Manning will attempt to clear the Mars dust off this story.

Robert Manning
Mars Exploration Directorate Chief Engineer

Dr. Deborah Bass
Deputy Project Scientist

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